Brussels – The European Parliament on Thursday halted ratification of a new investment pact with China until Beijing lifts sanctions on EU politicians, deepening a dispute in Sino-European relations and denying EU companies greater access to China.
The resolution to freeze ratification passed with 599 votes in favor, 30 votes against and 58 abstentions.
The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, agreed by negotiators in December after seven years of talks, aimed to put EU companies on an equal footing in China and cement Beijing’s status as a trusted trading partner.
But Beijing imposed sanctions in March on 10 EU politicians, as well as think-tanks and diplomatic bodies, in response to Western sanctions against Chinese officials accused of the mass detentions of Muslim Uyghurs in northwestern China.
China’s sanctions include five members of the EU assembly and its human rights sub-committee.
“With its sanctions, China has…